Documenting the American South Logo
Loading
Title: Oral History Interview with Julia Peaks de-Heer, January 8, 1999. Interview K-0146. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: de-Heer, Julia Peaks, interviewee
Interview conducted by Hemming, Jill
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Kristin Shaffer
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2008
Size of electronic edition: 164 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2008.
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2008-00-00, Celine Noel, Wanda Gunther, and Kristin Martin revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2008-01-03, Kristin Shaffer finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Julia Peaks de-Heer, January 8, 1999. Interview K-0146. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series K. Southern Communities. Southern Oral History Program Collection (K-0146)
Author: Jill Hemming
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Julia Peaks de-Heer, January 8, 1999. Interview K-0146. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series K. Southern Communities. Southern Oral History Program Collection (K-0146)
Author: Julia Peaks de-Heer
Description: 238 Mb
Description: 34 p.
Note: Interview conducted on January 8, 1999, by Jill Hemming; recorded in Durham, North Carolina.
Note: Transcribed by Unknown.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series K. Southern Communities, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Editorial practices
An audio file with the interview complements this electronic edition.
The text has been entered using double-keying and verified against the original.
The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 4 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Original grammar and spelling have been preserved.
All quotation marks, em dashes and ampersand have been transcribed as entity references.
All double right and left quotation marks are encoded as "
All em dashes are encoded as —

Interview with Julia Peaks de-Heer, January 8, 1999.
Interview K-0146. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
de-Heer, Julia Peaks, interviewee


Interview Participants

    JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER, interviewee
    MRS. DE-HEER'S MOTHER, interviewee
    SMALL CHILD, interviewee
    JILL HEMMING, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
JILL HEMMING:
Today is the eighth of January, 1999. This is Jill Hemming. I am in the home of Julia de-Heer and that is here in Durham, North Carolina, and we are talking about the changes she has seen in her northeast central Durham neighborhood where she grew up and about her life. So let's check that. That looks pretty good. [Recorder is turned off and then back on.]
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
[Laughter] This is my first time. It is like, am I going on TV?
JILL HEMMING:
Relax and enjoy it. There will be no TV audience here today. Just give me a little background on when and where you were born.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Okay. Let's start off with my name. Oh, you did. You gave my name already. Okay.
JILL HEMMING:
Where does your name come from?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
de-Heer is Dutch. That's a Dutch name. I married someone. But my maiden name is Peaks. I met this young man from Ghana, and we were married in D.C. in 1987. This is where that de-Heer is from. I was born in Durham, North Carolina, at Duke Hospital June 15, 1946. I attended Merrick-Moore School. I also attended East End Elementary School. And the junior high school—I went to Whitted Junior High, and I also attended Hillside High in Durham.
JILL HEMMING:
Really.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Yes.
JILL HEMMING:
Hillside?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Hillside.
JILL HEMMING:
Okay.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Have you ever heard of it?
JILL HEMMING:
Uh-huh. Yes. Sure.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Yes. Hillside.
JILL HEMMING:
And your family. Tell me a little bit about them.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Yes. My parents, actually my parents J. C. and Mary Peaks—my mother's maiden name was Hafkins—and she married my father. We lived in a place when I was younger called Stagville. That is in the county of Durham. We lived in a log cabin. And my father, around the 40s, I was very young, but

Page 2
I remember my father and mother working in tobacco. And we would come home in the evening and my father—while he would wash up and we would play, my mother prepared dinner. And I loved that. Then the big move came. My father had gotten a job with the Nello Teer, it's a construction company. He was working with the water pipe line, which he worked with that company for about thirty-five years. Anyway, when we moved this broke up the family unit. We moved to Hopkins Street, 728 Hopkins Street. It was like moving from the country to the city. That was kind of hard on me, hard for me to accept, moving to the city because I was used to the openness—you know—like the grass and the trees and being outside and running, and just running and playing. And playing in the creeks. I loved the outside so when we moved to the city it was devastating to me. Because I said, "Oh no." But fortunately, my grandmother still lived I the country so in the summer I could go back to the country. And I always did that. But after a while I got used to living on Hopkins Street. My mother tried to make it as pleasant as possible. And she played little games with us, with me and my sisters and brothers to try to keep the fun thing. But nothing took the place of the country for me. I'll never forget that. I'm one of the ones that say, "You can take a girl out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the girl." And that's me. I've traveled a lot, extensively. I lived in New York. I lived in Maryland. I lived in Canada. But all that—I decided to come back home. But back to Hopkins Street. It was nice. It was nice there because it was like a family. Everyone. Once we got to know, once I could relax and say, "Hey, I've got to make the best of this. This is where we are going to be." And my mother explained to me that my father had a job, a better opportunity and we took it. So we lived there. I said, "Well, okay."
JILL HEMMING:
What were the circumstances of the farming that your parents did around Stagville? Was that family owned land, or—
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
No, it was working with the people. Working for someone else as a tobacco hand or something like this. So when he got this other job it was more money, making more money and we would have other things. But I'm a child. I didn't understand this. I just knew it was nothing like it was at that time. But after they explained this to me, I said, "Oh, okay." You know, "You remember the little doll that you wanted, now we can get some of the things that you want." I said, "Okay, so this is better." I started looking at Hopkins Street a little closer then. I began to feel the people out and the children.

Page 3
JILL HEMMING:
How old were you then?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
I was eight years old when I moved.
JILL HEMMING:
And your parents bought the house? Or did they rent to own?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Rent to own the house. Yes. I just ran from one end of the street to the other. Just ran. I'll never forget that. I guess, I don't know why. I think it was to let people know that, hey, I'm here in this new place. [Laughter] But finally we got to meet the people. And next door to where we lived was a very old lady. She was sweet as she could be. Mother White. We used to call her Mother White. She was really old. Her hair was gray. She reminded me of Cecily Tyson, that picture she played. Her little white hair and stuff. She kept everybody in the neighborhood in order. That was the mother of the neighborhood. I used to visit her. I always loved to listen to older people talk. Always. I could just like lay on the porch and just listen to them talk. I always was a stickler for history.
JILL HEMMING:
How many older people were there in the neighborhood at that time?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Oh, we had Mother White. We had Miss Holloway, Mr. and Mrs. Calhoun. One, two, three, four, five, six—eight that I can remember. And the others were married couples with children. And we got to meet, I got to meet the children. It was—we became a family. You know, like a family. We played together. It was nice and clean. Grass. And if one person didn't have grass one of the neighbors would come over and say, "Well, here, you can do this." Talk to my father and show him what to do to get grass in our yard. In the back we had a garden, so part of the country did dome with us. [Laughter] And I was happy for that. And we helped, you know, you'd see the people helping each other. If one didn't have something, two or three would go over, like sharing. A community together. It was a bond. It became a bond. And we were safe. We could play in the street. We didn't have to worry about the cars flying down the street. It was a—you know—now that I think about it as I am talking about it, it was a respect for one another. That's what it really was. A respect and appreciation. Really a love for one another that the people had when I was a child. It wasn't that I have it and you don't. I have it so let's share. I know how to do this so we're going to help our neighbors. We're going to show our neighbors. And this is what on Hopkins Street I was brought up around. People helping people.

Page 4
JILL HEMMING:
For most of the people who were in that neighborhood, what do you think their background was before they came into that that neighborhood? Do you have any idea? First-time homeowners or people who came from—?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Well one, I know the McColloughs, they moved here from South Carolina. And they worked. She was a nurse. She worked with the elderly or something. She worked. And her husband worked. What did Mr. Roosevelt do, Mom? What was Mr. Roosevelt's profession, what did he do? Really, before we came?
MRS. DE-HEER'S MOTHER:
[unclear]
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
You know what, a few families over there came up. They had the Farmer's Exchange then.
JILL HEMMING:
The Farmer's Exchange?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Yes. That's where they had chickens, they would clean chickens and prepare them for the market or whatever. And lots of people worked there. I remember my grandmother worked over there. My aunt worked at the Farmer's Exchange. So that was how quite a few people made their living, from working from Farmer's Exchange. They used to have to wear boots in some parts of it. But now, I'm not sure what that is now. They've closed it out. But it was in business for a long time. But some of the people on Hopkins Street moved up here to get the jobs here like at Farmer's Exchange for more money or whatever at that time.
Mr. Calhoun was in the war. He had been in the war. He showed me pictures. He was way back there in the war. I said, "What?" He was really in the war.
JILL HEMMING:
Did everyone tend to go to the same churches? Was the neighborhood centered around the church? How did that work.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Yes, it was centered around. Reverend Talbert—.
JILL HEMMING:
Talbert: T-A-L-B-E-R-T?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Uh-huh. He started the church.
JILL HEMMING:
Greater Zion.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
The Greater Zion Wall Church. When he began it was just called Zion Wall. Zion Wall. It was a duplex apartment. And he came over. He said the people needed Christ. Something to hope for.

Page 5
Someone to let them know it is going to be better. But he started—and he would walk down the neighborhood and talk to the people and everything. And the next thing, we were in church. Everyone was in church. You know, like it was the neighborhood. Then the families got together and built, once they bought—excuse me—
SMALL CHILD:
I sharp.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Yes, you are sharp. Okay.
JILL HEMMING:
You are really sharp.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Okay then. Excuse me. He's going to wear his tan boots.
JILL HEMMING:
So the families got together?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Yes, and went to church.
JILL HEMMING:
Raised the funds to build—
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Once they bought the property where the duplex was on. And each family donated towards the building of the church. They bought a window or donated so we'd build the church, Zion Wall. Together. It was another part of the neighborhood where everyone came together to build. You know, like and helped. That was the unity that was there then. We really didn't have to worry. We could sleep outside if we wanted to. We definitely slept with the doors unlocked. There was no locking the doors. If I wanted a peach cobbler one of the mothers would say well, go pick the peaches. It was great. It was great.
JILL HEMMING:
What do you remember personally about your experience helping with the church, your part in that? How old were you?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Well, I used to walk in neighborhoods and they have [unclear]. The missionaries they have [unclear]. And I would go down and pick up something or give them water or whatever I could do at the time to help. And once the church was built I became a Sunday School teacher in that same church. I was, I think I was fifteen at this time and a Sunday School teacher. And I loved that position. I loved it. It seemed so special because I was helping the other children. Telling them about what I had learned and it also helped me, more than I would tell them. So I said, "Oh, okay." And I learned something on the way, too, also. So that was good for me. It was really good. That's the way, that's really the way that it was during that time.

Page 6
After years—the families, families together and stuff.
And it seemed like in, I guess, the late, the '80s or the—some things began to change. You know, like to turn around.
JILL HEMMING:
Could you speak to that change, do you think?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Well, different people were coming in and the older people were dying out. As they passed they brought new people in the neighborhood that weren't as eager to stick together or to be together or to help. And you could see the little changes. It seemed like a more selfish group of people began to move in. But we still, my family still stayed there. We were the last family that left the area, that moved from the area because it was, it just had, it seemed like there wasn't any more life. There wasn't any more life there. Which to me, moving was good for my mother. She needed to get away. But that area is a part of me. It is a part of us. Because that's where I did my growing up. That's where all the little scars and all the little bruises—that's where my healing came. My hurt, my cry, my healing. All of this came on Hopkins Street. So that's me. It is really me. That's why we're still at the church and we'll be there until—. I have faith and I know that God is going to move because he knows the love that we have for that area and that it's a part of us. And what he wants for us. So it grieves me now when I drive through, like Wednesday night or Sunday morning or Saturday, or anytime we go through there. And it seems like once where it was green, now there is a gray, like a shade of dull gray. From fresh to a smog, a smog. Now with the different atmosphere, the different people they are allowing to come into the neighborhood and just pile their trash up—you know—like so what? And this is very unfair. And it hurts me real bad to see this because I know the beauty there. I saw the beauty there. I was a part of that beauty. And now to see it like that, it hurts. It really does. Because, I say, "No. I'm not going out like that." I'm not going out like that because to take this neighborhood down is taking me down. Because that's my history. That's my roots. That's hurting all of mine. My baby was born at Duke and brought to that neighborhood. She's a part of it. So it's me. It's us. And it's not going to be like that. It's not.
We have last the church. And some church members we are coming out being seen now. Helping to clean. We had a cleaning. Walking through on Saturdays and cleaning the neighborhood. So we're putting some of this in action to let the people know this is ours. And we want it back. The way that it should be.

Page 7
JILL HEMMING:
How many people are coming and being a part of that movement?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Okay. The church family.
JILL HEMMING:
Are they people that used to live in the neighborhood? People who have ties to the older group or, why are those people there? What is their connection?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
The ones that are helping or the ones that live there.
JILL HEMMING:
The ones who are helping.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
The ones, on our side, we're from the neighborhood. And we have a few that's coming from the neighborhood. But then we also have people that are interested because they have a house in that neighborhood and they want the neighborhood clean so they can get what they want in that neighborhood. We're aware of that, also. But God is going to get the glory of it all, irregardless. So everybody's interest in the neighborhood is not as pure as mine, is not as heartfelt as mine, because I am the neighborhood. I am a part of the neighborhood. They've just got a piece of something given to them and they want to be in the neighborhood, but I am the neighborhood. We are the neighborhood. We're the ones that's got the scars and the things to show for it. The neighborhood.
JILL HEMMING:
Did a lot of your family leave Stagville or wherever else they were and move to the area after you guys did it? Tell me about that.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Yes. I have my great aunt which is here now. She's—
JILL HEMMING:
Miss Sally?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Yes, Miss Sally Hafkins.
JILL HEMMING:
H-A-F-K-I-N-S?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Yes.
JILL HEMMING:
Okay.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
She moved to the neighborhood and she's a soldier. She was a soldier. She just walked through the neighborhood. She would clean your yard. She would sweep the streets. The streets never were dirty. If any paper or anything, or somebody's yard needed raking, she would just automatically do it. She's a part of the neighborhood. My grandmother moved there. My other aunt was in the neighborhood. So, you know, our family—it's like our neighborhood, because all of my family was there.

Page 8
My brother had a house next to ours. One of my brothers is across the street. It was, actually, the Hafkins and Peaks neighborhood because that's the family. The family just grew up and when through a lot of things there, on Hopkins Street. We cried together. We laughed together. We played together. We had Christmases together, we had more Christmases together, but we were together. Even though we might not have had things to share all the time, but we always had our love to share. And that brought us through so very much. [unclear] . But we had each other. We could just go get our [unclear] and just paint it or just—it was so, it was real. It was real because it was true feelings. It was natural love.
JILL HEMMING:
Hafkins and Peaks mainly lived on Hopkins Street. What about the surrounding streets? What was the connection to the other?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Who lived on the other streets? We had relatives on Liberty Street, Taylor Street—Liberty, Taylor, Elm and Belk. We just had relatives and friends. My uncle—one of my uncles lived on Liberty; the Halls on Liberty; Danit, my brother, one of my brothers on Liberty. [Speaks to child: "No, Malique, go back. Go back there with Joshua. Thank you.]
So it was family, friends. We could walk from Hopkins Street to, what is it? Eva Street. There's Hopkins, Taylor, Hopkins, Liberty, Eva—the other little street down the hill, around the corner. It was a safe neighborhood.
JILL HEMMING:
Was that a gradual process, your family coming—?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Yes.
JILL HEMMING:
—perhaps in the 40s there was a big in-migration then of country folks into Durham?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Yes. [Speaks to child: No, no. Put it down. Put it down, now. Thank you.]
JILL HEMMING:
[Speaking to child: I know, that looks so fun. We'll put it where you won't have to worry about it.]
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
[Speaking to child: Go get your mike. Go in the back. All right.] Yes, it was gradual that family started to migrate to that area. They just came in and said, "Ah, this seems like a nice place to be." And as soon as the area was available, somebody moved there. They came in.
JILL HEMMING:
How old were the houses when you moved in? Do you have any idea?

Page 9
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Well, the houses wasn't really, really old, because I remember, there wasn't that much work needed. They were fairly new. Now they are old, old, old. They're rotting now and everything. But they weren't that old at the time that we moved in. I guess about ten, maybe ten years old, probably when we moved there. I don't know.
JILL HEMMING:
Do you have any idea who owned the property?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
I know a Mr. Wrights—W-R-I-G-H-T—B.H.? H. B.? Wrights owned the property that we had. I remember Wrights. It's B. H. or H. B. Wrights at that time that owned that property.
JILL HEMMING:
So you think there were some African-American businessmen who had real estate, who owned properties through neighborhoods?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
It probably—yes. A lot of them, like Mr. Moore had property at that time. Yes. A lot of African-Americans had property at the time and this encouraged a lot of people to move. This is what encouraged them. You know, families that want to be closer would come to the neighborhood.
JILL HEMMING:
So when a lot of the people got older and passed on, was it the problem that their children didn't want to come and live in that neighborhood any more so that it became a rental property? What happened with people's property ownership?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Well, I know two—Mother White didn't have any family—so she, like the city did with that. Two of the families, I know, three, as a matter of fact, that the siblings didn't want—one was living in New York, these families were living in New York and they were pretty well stable. They didn't want to move back here. And another family donated a house to the church. They didn't want to move back so they just donated the house to the church. We have the House of Hope. They donated it to us. And Mr. Calhoun, they had one son. He moved overseas because he was in the Army also. So he didn't want to move back to the neighborhood.
At that time Mrs. McCollough bought his house. And she just used that as a boarding house. That how the boarding houses, you know, like people started moving into because she started boarding. And other properties, if nobody moved in or—she bought another house next door and used as a boarding house. So, then, this is how people different started coming in also. Other people started to come in.
JILL HEMMING:
How did your family respond initially to these new neighbors who were in boarding houses?

Page 10
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
You know, skeptical. At first it wasn't accepted. It was a question—where are they coming from? Are things going to be the same? What kinds of changes—and she assured that—it's going to be fine. The people and this and that and the other. So, trusting as we were at the time—okay, what can it hurt? We'll just would love, we would do this and that and maybe things would be all right. But after, I'd say about a few years, then we began to see that it was about the money. The people wasn't being screened as you say that they were. It was just economic—I want this, greed set in on that side. And it was something to have to see. You know, to have all of this going—and there's always one in the camp. It's always one in the camp and you try. You don't want it to be or you don't want to accept that its somebody in the camp that is going to sell you out. But it happened. It happened and it was behind money.
We still stood our ground then. And gradually some of the relatives of the people that were rooming started to come in and then we started to see little alcohol, little changes, like the drinking and the fighting and this is totally different than what it was. Where did all the love go all of a sudden? Things just started gradually turning over. Like changes, changes. But even though the changes came, it was like on the weekend people would just let go. They'd go out and drinking, and do their little thing. It wasn't to the point that people were—people yet held their jobs, and yet respected the neighborhood enough. It wasn't like an all day, every day thing. People didn't do that then because people believed in working and keeping like the yards and everything good. That's the way it was. That's just what I remember. So even with that change then, it wasn't as traumatic, as dramatic as it is today like with the people standing out there from the time, I guess, they get up until the time that you go to bed. Because sometime we might get out of church at 11:00, 11:30 and people are still standing. Just standing. Nothing can be good of that. Why are you just standing here? I know there is a place to work. They have twenty-four-hour places to work. It's something. With standing over top of trash.
JILL HEMMING:
Your family moved in what year? And was there a final straw that pushed you to do so?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Well, after everyone left and then—they wanted my mother to just leave because she was the only one that you know—just move to another neighborhood until—. She stood. She stood. She was determined that she was not going to move because her roots—but after the girls and her siblings and my father passed there. Had they passed, she would have let it go easier then. After he passed—and she

Page 11
moved out here in '90—my father passed in '89 and she moved out here in '91. Was it '90 or '91? About a year or two later after he passed.
JILL HEMMING:
So they moved in in about 1940?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Yes, say about '40, '42 something like that, '40.
JILL HEMMING:
Until 1991.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Um-hum. '89, '89 he died, December 15th, 1989.
JILL HEMMING:
So, just to go back a little a little further in your school history, what do you remember from your school days? Just a little bit, give me a little background.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Well, before we moved over here I went to Merrick-Moore. I remember going to Merrick-Moore, I remember May Day. We used to have May Day at Merrick-Moore and I used to love that. We dressed in our little white dresses. And my mother used to roll my hair in the Shirley Temple curls. She used to roll it up on a paper bag. She would tear a paper bag and roll my hair up. That's how we used to roll it. And just pull it out. And I had Shirley Temple curls. I loved that. And my little white dress and little Shirley Temple curls. And we would go outside May Day. They had this pole. You know, the ribbons hanging from it. And we would just go around the circle singing. You know, like May Day. May Day. I enjoyed that. And I loved school. I loved school. I loved it. And that's what I remember mostly about Merrick-Moore.
JILL HEMMING:
Is that M-E-R-R-I-T-T? Merritt-Moore?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Merrick. He's in Merrick-Moore now.
JILL HEMMING:
M-E-R-R-I-C-K?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Right.
JILL HEMMING:
Merrick-Moore.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Yes. And he's there now and its still on Cheek Road. I was telling—oh, I used to attend that school. That was something.
JILL HEMMING:
Is it the same?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
It is the same area.
JILL HEMMING:
Have they rebuilt?

Page 12
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Yes. They've added on and rebuilt. Another generation in there. And when we moved over, when we moved to Hopkins Street I went to East End School. And that's in northern Durham on Dowd Street. I was eight because it was third grade—five, six, seven, eight.
SMALL CHILD:
I've got to do-do.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
He has to go. [Speaking to child: Go to the bathroom. Joshua, please. Let me finish this up so we can go.]
JILL HEMMING:
It may take more than tonight. I think we've just started, don't you think?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Yes, yes. You probably have to come back again. When I have more time.
JILL HEMMING:
Okay, so we are at East End?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
East End School. That's the next elementary school that I went to. I went there. I was in third grade when I came over to East End. And I remember every one of my teachers. I remember the things—my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Griswell, Mrs. George, and Mr. Sauer. Mr. Sauer was my fifth grade teacher through. It was a man.
JILL HEMMING:
S-A-U …
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
S-A-U-E-R. Sauer. Yes. And Mrs. George. I went to her class. And she said, "Little girl, the first grade is not here," I was so tired. They said, "No, that's Julia—she's supposed to be here." She said, "What?" But I loved it. And another thing that I remember about school is that they wanted to fight. And I didn't know nothing. Children, they wanted to—and I cried. I just cried. I ran home crying. I said, "Do you know they want to fight?" I just want to go to school to learn. I said, "Oh, this is taking me to a whole different level." I didn't know I was supposed to do this. So my father said, "Yes, you've got to learn how to defend yourself, because if you don't they'll take advantage of you." So, it was something. But I loved, I really loved school. I wouldn't stay out. I would cry if I couldn't go to school.
JILL HEMMING:
So you loved to learn?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
I loved to learn. Yes, I'm in school now. I love it. I am always interested in change and learning more and more and more.
JILL HEMMING:
So you went to junior high, which was?

Page 13
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Whitted. W-H-I-T-T-ED. It's now Head Start, where Head Start is over on—what is the name of that street? It has been so long. I forgot the name of the street. But it was Whitted Junior High. So I was there seven, eight, nine. They had from grades seven through nine. I took French there [unclear] . In the eighth grade. I had Miss Sloan, Mr. Thompson, and my teacher was named Miss French. [Laughter] That was her name.
JILL HEMMING:
That was very appropriate.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Yes.
JILL HEMMING:
Were any of your siblings, brothers and sisters in school with you?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Oh, yes.
JILL HEMMING:
Were they close in age?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Um-hum. There was Kenneth—Kenneth went to school. And William, well William went out to Merrick-Moore, but he didn't go. He didn't come up. But my cousins—Kenneth was the only one. He was below me, but I was just by myself except my cousins. You know, the other ones were younger. My siblings were younger.
JILL HEMMING:
And then maybe we can get to high school, and that's probably as far as we will get. We're actually right toward the end of this side so that's perfect.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Okay. Then there was Hillside. [Aside to child who sneezes: Bless you. Get some tissue, Joshua. Go get a roll of tissue. Just get a new roll of tissue and bring it, hurry.]
JILL HEMMING:
Let's stop right here because the tape just ended.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
JILL HEMMING:
All right. This is our part two. This has taken us how long, this is like three months later.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Yes.
JILL HEMMING:
Because now it's May the 14th. Is today the 14th?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
The 15th.
JILL HEMMING:
It is May 15th. Wow. So here we are again.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
A long time. Yes.
JILL HEMMING:
So you were just explaining to me that your family came from Stagville, which is now an historic site.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Yes.
JILL HEMMING:
And your family names are traced back a long time.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Yes. The Hafkins. My mother's side is the Hafkins and my father's Peaks. But the Hafkins lived in Stagville. Well, both of them really lived in Stagville, one on one side and the others on another side of [unclear] , which is now called Old Oxford Highway. I forget the name of it then. It was such a long time. But I'm sure it is in the books, like downtown. The name of it. The original name.
JILL HEMMING:
What do you know about your great grandmother, Julia?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Oh, the one that I'm named after? I knew that I loved her. I used to go, she worked at the big house. We called it the big house, which is a historical site now. She lived in a little cabin across the wall. It was a wall like and across the wall was a little cabin that she lived. I would go out there and stay with her during the summer. My mother said that we lived out there for a while. But I remember going every summer. I loved it out there because it was a pond in the back. But my great grandmother worked up in the big house and I used to go up, a huge kitchen. It was so large to me then because I was little. I said, "Oh, this is a big place." That was the largest place I ever saw. She used to give me little cookies or something that she had baked. And I played with Elizabeth and Johnny, the family members that were there. I guest they were great grands, or grands or something at that time also. And we would leave and come back across the wall to our little bitty place. But she had one bedroom. Well, there was two bedrooms. The way she had it up, it was two bedrooms. She had two beds on this side and a little hallway,

Page 15
a little walkway. And what I loved, was those little, what do you call it? The churn? Not the churn, the piston that you pour the water in, the little wash—she had a beautiful, beautiful one she sat there. And it had the pitcher to it and the little round wash basin. You would pour water in it and wash your face and stuff. It was so beautiful. I remember that. That was in the little hallway right there in the other bedroom. And when you go out the other one, is a little walkway and then you enter the kitchen. And she had this great old big wood stove. That was a big kitchen, too. And a pantry and all that. And every summer I used to go out there. And out back we had the pond. I hated getting my feet in the water, though at that time because I was afraid of snakes. And my brother and Johnny and Eddie—little Eddie from the big house, they used to just jump in that water, and it was ugh—and I would see snakes running around. And I said, "No." Yes, she worked there until she passed. She was a hundred.
JILL HEMMING:
A hundred?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
She was a hundred and, I believe she was a hundred and two when she passed. My ancestors, the oldest one was, I believe he was a hundred and twelve when he died. But they usually go up to the hundreds or the nineties, or something. They live a long time. And what is so amazing about it, and I believe that today, is because they worked. You know, when they came out with retirement, when they couldn't move, or couldn't work or wasn't busy, they just drifted away. But then they just worked and was used to working. She worked, and worked and worked. Until she just got, one day she was tired. She used to laugh and play with me. And I loved her. I loved her. We used to sit on the front porch. She had this great old big tree in her front yard. We used to sit out. She had a little rocking chair and they had a swing that they had made, my uncle had made, this wooden swing and the rocking chair. She used to sit in the rocker and I was on the swing. And she would just tell me stories about her brother and her father. And that was a good time in life. That was really a good time for me because I love the country, the outside. I loved it. And that's my desire to get back, take these boys back to the country. It seemed as though things—when we moved to the city, things began to change for me. The fast everything. You know, it changed. But when we first moved, the family knit. Everybody on the street was close. They looked out for each other's children and it was a unity there. You could just go downtown. You could just go anywhere. You could leave your door open. And it was really, really nice, like in peaceful and quiet.

Page 16
That went on until I was, I guess I was what—I went to East End, Merrick-Moore when I was in Stagville out there. Okay, when we moved to town I went to East End Elementary School. Okay, and Whitted School that was my seventh grade there. That's where seventh grade started. That's when everything began to change, change over. Supposed to have been for the better. People began to gradually move out of the neighborhood and things began—other elements began to move in the neighborhood. And we as teenagers began to grow. And come up with our own little ideas of what we wanted to do and be. But I stayed home until I was eighteen. And I was going to school. I loved school. I really loved school. And we kept the unity there, like in our little neighborhood. We kept the place clean and we looked out for each other. It was really nice. But when it started to pull apart, you could feel it—the whole neighbor—you could really feel it. It was a caring neighborhood at that time, at one time. People cared about each other and what happened and "Can I help you," and this and that. But I began to see the change. The selfishness began to come in.
JILL HEMMING:
That was in the 1950s you are talking about.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Yes, yes. It started to come in. And I said, "Oh." And I saw alcohol came in. Well, it was probably there, around there all time, but I began to see people—maybe it was more respect at one time. People may have drank inside or it wasn't exposed to the children as much. But I began to see people walking the street like staggering, or something like that. I said, "Um, what's wrong with them?" I decided then, not knowing what I said—well, I know I'm going to be a nurse or a doctor. I want to help. You know, I thought they were sick. I said I want to do something to help.
JILL HEMMING:
What did you call your neighborhood growing up? Was there a name for your neighborhood?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
No. It was just Hopkins Street. Like Hopkins Street, our neighborhood.
JILL HEMMING:
Did it include other streets around Hopkins Street?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Yes. From Holloway Street, Eva Street, Liberty Street, Hopkins Street and Teller Street. And, of course, Elm Street and Belt Street. You know, the two little streets that—
JILL HEMMING:
What do you [unclear] that neighborhood?

Page 17
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
I believe it was, it had to be the older people going around and just looking out for one another. Mr. Calhoun, he would walk all the streets. The man would walk all the streets. And people respected him and everything was in order it seems. Seemed like he just kept things going. Because I know, if anybody was doing anything, you know, like fighting—anything. He would come up with something. That changed. And I am just really, what you said. Things are happening and you see it and you don't really think about it until it is mentioned. But, yes. Respect for the elders there. It was a respect. Everybody respected. He was a church goer. They were building the church. Church going, God fearing person. And people had a respect, great respect.
JILL HEMMING:
Who were some of the other people you remember being leaders?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Mr. Calhoun. Mr. McCollough. Mr. McCrae.
JILL HEMMING:
Is that M-C-C-R-A-E, you think?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Yes. And, who else was there? Of course, my father. My father and—Nesmith. And the Nesmith's. That's basically the ones that I remember.
JILL HEMMING:
How did they show leadership? What set them apart as leaders?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
[Aside to child: Shush.]
JILL HEMMING:
You need to go play with the kids.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Go play.
JILL HEMMING:
Go play with the kids and close the door. Are you looking for a toy?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
What are you looking for?
JILL HEMMING:
Get something you need. Your room got taken over.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Close the door. Their concern for, you know, the neighborhood, was concern about the children and what was going on. Is everybody eating? Did everybody have—make sure the rent was paid, because if somebody wasn't able to pay their rent they used to have—sell sandwiches and sell food—what they call rent parties, or something. But they were determined—just made sure that as a knit that everything was taken care of. And nothing that was—an element that could cause harm or something wasn't in the neighborhood, or didn't stay in the neighborhood. As I know, if they were drinking, when that came in before Mr. Calhoun died, he would go first to talk to the family. I saw him go

Page 18
to a lot of houses. The next weekend or something, you didn't see those people out there in the street. So this was—he initiated respect and unity. They did. I guess someone had to be in charge or to care about the neighborhood and to care that there are some children here, like respect. So these people were concerned about that. Leadership paid off. It gave a lot of us a sense of responsibility, as we grow it is up to us that we can keep this. We can do this. They did it. We can do this. If we stand together. And that's basically what it was about. People got together and turned this little apartment into a church. And they built a church from there. The church is there now, Zion Wall. It is there now. Families donated time and effort into building the church, somewhere to worship on Sunday. Everybody, everybody worked on building that. Turning that duplex apartment into a whole building which stands today. And, oh, John McCrae. I did say, McCrae didn't I? Yes. Mr. McCrae. He was really good, too. He was on one corner. Mr. Calhoun was in the middle and McCollough was on the other end, between him. And the unity. Nobody was hungry. Somebody was always cooking, if the parent's were working, or whatever they were doing. They used to go out and work in tobacco then. They had people come out. They had tobacco fields. And my mother took me out one day and I was with her. And I saw a tobacco worm and I didn't want to be in tobacco no more. [Laughter] It was, I would say I had a healthy childhood. Which I can't say for the children today. That era of things was slower, and just beginning to start moving in the '50s a little.
JILL HEMMING:
What do you remember about businesses in the neighborhood? Where there any businesses right in the immediate area?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Yes. There was a store. There was one, two, three stores. Miss Dolly, Miss Stevenson—Mr. Stevenson, rather, had a store. Three stores on the corners. One on Elm Street where the little white house is now. When that moved, Mr. Stevenson got the little house on the corner and turned it into a store where he sold hot dogs and ice cream and sliced water melon. The store around the corner had vegetables. They used to get vegetables from the country.
JILL HEMMING:
So were these black owned businesses? Or were they white owned?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
No, they were white owned. Actually, there weren't any black owned businesses in the neighborhood. The only thing that the blacks did for the rent parties, they did that. They sold. And Ms.

Page 19
Maggie would sell candy and make homemade pies and cakes and things like that. She would have that for the neighborhood, the little children, something for them to come out. But as far as businesses, no. They didn't have businesses.
JILL HEMMING:
He was working for somebody else. You said that there was the Farmer's Exchange where people cut up chicken.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Yes.
JILL HEMMING:
You dad worked for Nello Teer on construction. Did he construct roads?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Yes.
JILL HEMMING:
Where else did people work, do you remember?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
It is another factory.
JILL HEMMING:
Golden Belt?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Golden Belt. And Liggett and Myers. Was Liggett and Myers there then? Basically, it was just Golden—if you got a job at Liggett and Myers it was more money, or something. That was fairly new. My grandmother used to work, seems like all of them used to work at Farmer's Exchange. Golden Belt and Farmer's Exchange.
JILL HEMMING:
How close were those to your neighborhood. How did people get to work?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
They used to walk. Walk down the railroad track. Do you know where Elizabeth Street is? Do you know anything about Durham? It is about as far as mileage or anything, I couldn't. I was looking in the book yesterday, in my phone book.
JILL HEMMING:
[Looking at map in phone book.] Here's your house. You are right here.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Okay. So Liggett and Myers is at the corner of Alston and—Elizabeth Street—it's a little bitty street running—let me turn that light on.
JILL HEMMING:
Let me do it. You're attached.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Yes. I look good. I said that. I usually open that window. That curtain.
JILL HEMMING:
Okay, Elizabeth. Is it near Holloway? Down further?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Yes. Let me see, Holloway, it's between Holloway and Gilbert? Is it Gilbert? No. Let me see. Holloway. What's that?

Page 20
JILL HEMMING:
Drew Street. Then Hanover, Lyric, Rosetta, Neville. Here's Hopkins.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Hopkins is here.
JILL HEMMING:
Morning Glory.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Okay, so we're back. I'm trying to think of the name of the street. I can't see it down there.
JILL HEMMING:
I'm sorry. It is a bad map.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
It is small. I had to use my magnifying glass last night because I was looking at—.
JILL HEMMING:
Here's the railroad. It runs all the way through here. So this is the railroad right here.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Okay, so it is on the—.
JILL HEMMING:
Here's Belt Street.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
I believe that's Gilbert.
JILL HEMMING:
Here's Hyde Street. Hyde Park Avenue.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Okay. It has got to be in-between.
JILL HEMMING:
It is right in here somewhere. Right near Juniper and East End Park.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
It is right at East End Park. Right across from East End Park as a matter of fact. So they used to walk from there. And, of course, Golden Belt is right down the street. The transportation was walking.
JILL HEMMING:
So people were able to work right in the neighborhood?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Yes. It was close enough.
JILL HEMMING:
You say that you viewed your dad as a real community leader. Tell me a little bit about his civic involvement. What kind of organizations was he a part of, or how did he—
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Well, his involvement—my father, once we moved to the city. I call it the city, from where we were living that was the country, the county. The only thing that he would do was help them organize. If we were having a rent party or something, he would help organize that. He was gone mostly because his job took him out of town a lot. He was the one, if anything got rowdy or anything at that time, he was the pipeline to the authorities and everybody knew that. Because, he said, "Well, if this happens, I'm going to call the police." But that is basically what he did. If anybody needed to go anywhere—but as far as being

Page 21
a leader or anything, no. He would work with them in the neighborhood on the weekends when he was here. If somebody went out of town, one of the men had to go out of town or something, he kept an eye out on the house and would make sure food was there or something, that the families ate. That they had what they needed. And this is basically what everyone did. Looked out. The men liked to fish and they would try to fish or hunt and bring enough for everybody, or two or three families at a time.
JILL HEMMING:
True country boys.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Yes, indeed. It was country from their heart. Catfish, yuk! They had so much rabbit. But food was there. Chicken, of course plenty of chicken because they were at the Farmer's Exchange.
JILL HEMMING:
Chicken, chicken, chicken.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Yes. We had stewed chicken, baked chicken, fried chicken, chicken, chicken. [Laughter] There was so much chicken. Then we ate chicken feed. You know, the chicken feed. And we used to love it. Because they used to stew those. They would boil them and put onions in it and a little thickening. It was good to snack on. Then cornbread and buttermilk. There are the things. Crackling corn bread. They would get meat. They used to go out and kill hogs, slaughter hogs. And the fat, the skin. They used to—they had a smoke house. My grandfather had a big smokehouse for the sausage. We had sausage, ham, and everything that goes in the smokehouse. And then the skin, some way my grandmother made crackling. And we had crackling corn bread. It was some good eating.
JILL HEMMING:
They did that right in Durham? This wasn't out in the country. This was right in their backyard?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Yes. Oh, they slaughtered the hogs in the country because we couldn't do that, but in the town they made the soap. They had this great old big black pot, and boil liquids. They made [unclear] soap. My grandmother and my mother, they used to make soap in town. But they slaughtered hogs in the country, where a lot of my family still live and lived. The older ones that are still here. So we would go out there.
JILL HEMMING:
So you still felt pretty connected to the country, even though your family moved to the city because there was enough family there that you went back and forth?

Page 22
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Right. And I would love the summer when school was out in the summer, because I could go back, and it is in my bones now. As I think about it now, because wherever I go, I travel a lot, and wherever I go I would think about the country. And to me it may be a way of getting—those were my peaceful times. And I reflect back on it and the peace. So this is probably—it was a peaceful time for me. It seems to me when I moved to the city everything just went, like the hay wall. It was there for a minute, everybody around. That's why I paid close attention to what everybody did. And it was good. Hopkins Street is our neighborhood. That's my neighborhood. But Stagville, that's my home. That's a difference. A neighborhood and a home. We grew up in that neighborhood and the atmosphere was pleasant. There was a sense of unity and people looking out for each other. And loving, and sharing, and caring.
You weren't afraid to lay and sleep. You weren't afraid to walk out on your porch late at night. You could sleep on your porch. You weren't afraid of that. And that was good. And through all of that, the country still came up. I could just run from one end of the place to the—all that greenery. It was just great. Great for me. And school, school. I loved school. Didn't want to stay out of school for anything. Sometimes I couldn't go if it rained, because I didn't have a proper rain coat. I remember one time for sure. One time in particular, my mother said, "Well, you can't go today because it is raining too hard and you don't have a rain coat or galoshes." I said, "But I've got to go to school, Mamma. If I don't go, I won't learn." I believe I got as far as from here to maybe Kerr Drug. I was soaked all the way through my clothes, through my underclothes. That's how hard it was raining. And I started crying, and I turned around and came back. Mother said, "I should just let you change clothes and go right back again." We pulled those clothes off. But that's how much I loved school. I learned. To me school—I remember when I was in elementary school, we were living on Hopkins Street, so I would walk. Each school that I went to I walked the rail road track., and one was going toward Dowd Street. The other was going toward Herd Square, Whitted School, which is Operation Breakthrough now. And then, Hillside, of course. But walking to school, going to school. And I remember when children began to fight, they wanted to fight. That was so strange. It didn't make sense to me. I ran home to tell my mother. I said, "They're trying to fight at school!" And it just so happened that my father was home that day. And my father, he said, "Well, you've got to go back. You can't run home." I said, "But they are fighting." I said, "Mamma, I thought school

Page 23
was where you go to learn." I didn't know that you go there to learn how to fight. [Laughter] So naïve. My father said, "Well, this is a part of life. You've got to learn how to take care of yourself." I said, "Do I have to?" He said, "Yes, you have to take care of yourself. You can't run." That was an experience for me, to learn. Because everything—I liked school, and I thought everybody else liked school. And we were supposed to go there to learn. I didn't know all of this was like fighting and all of that went along with it. That was another thing I had to get used to because we didn't do it at Merrick-Moore. There wasn't any fighting out there. So I saw smooth sailing, but things changed. People have different ways, views of things, and ways of looking at it I did not understand at the time. And when a new kid is on the block she has to be tested or he has to be tested. I didn't know anything about that. It was seeing whether I was going to stand or run. I fled. Because I ran. I didn't know I was supposed to stand up there, but that was the part. But, okay, so—
JILL HEMMING:
So you have to be a new kid on the block. You get to make some real adjustments.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Yes.
JILL HEMMING:
Were you grateful to the people who helped you to fit in and find a place?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Yes. Our teachers and the friends that I had. Like a guy, this George, and Regina George, her daughters. I remember them. Miss Griswell. Mr. Sauer. All those really nice—we would talk. Miss Griswell taught me a lot about being a young lady and to sit up straight. She taught me how to sit up and how to walk right. That was my fifth grade, my sixth grade teacher. I was leaving there. Yes, she was my sixth grade teacher. Mr. Sauer was my fifth grade teacher. Miss Joyce was my fourth grade teacher.
JILL HEMMING:
How do you spell Sauer?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
S-A-U-E-R.
JILL HEMMING:
So when you finished high school you were eighteen. You lived at home until you were eighteen. What happened then?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
I got married. I wanted the—I thought I was in love. I had my daughter. I got married and we moved to Washington, D.C. He had relatives there. I wanted to, what I wanted to do was to go to school. I wanted to be a doctor or nurse, but at that time I had my daughter, so that kind of held up some plans that I had. We moved to Washington. I believe that I was married for about two years. And my

Page 24
husband got to D.C. and just totally changed on me. So I moved back home. And I went to Lincoln. I got a job there at Lincoln Hospital. I stayed home with my parents and I worked at Lincoln for about two years, maybe, three. And one of my aunts got sick in New York and needed someone, so I moved to New York, about twenty-two, twenty-three. And I lived there for about, for a while, Long Island with her until she decided to move. And after New York I moved to Maryland. First I moved to Rockville, Maryland. It was nice out there, also.
JILL HEMMING:
What did you do there? A new job?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
In Rockville? I worked at a hospital. I worked at Holy Cross. Holy Cross is in Silver Spring, where I end up moving because it was better for me. It was closer. And the busses at that time coming from Rockville to Silver Spring—transportation was really too far and in between, because if I missed the bus I was just out of it. So I ended up moving to Silver Spring. And I worked at Holy Cross. I worked at Holy Cross for about seven years. I decided to change again. Next was Virginia. I moved to Arlington, Virginia.
JILL HEMMING:
And your daughter is eleven, twelve, by now?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Yes, but she's home with my mother.
JILL HEMMING:
Had she been home all the time?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Yes, she's been stable. She went to me during the summer, but at that time they said that I was too young and I hadn't really decided what I was going to do. And they didn't feel that she should go through that. No, she should be more stable. That hurt. That hurt because they're saying that I don't know how to take care of my child. But the stability was good, but my not being with her was even worse. Because she's growing. That's happening now, she's growing—it took a while for her to get over that part, and myself. Because even though I worked and I sent money home, it wasn't like my being there. The years that I wasn't there with her, I realized that it caused damage, even to the point that when Malique and Joshua came into the picture, she resented them because that closeness wasn't there with us. And I had no idea, being naïve. And my parents, and grandparents, evidently, didn't explain to me, or should have said to me, well, you need her with you. And then, maybe one place, I would have just settled there. I never knew. Because it didn't happen. But she was resentful of me. I would come in sometime and if I said

Page 25
something, she would just cry. And it went on for a while. And, do you know, it was not until that I started back going to church, and I just completely let go and I said, "God, I need help. I don't know how to handle this. I don't know what to do now." I said all the travels and all the things that I've done, there's a little person that I've hurt. And I can't give her those years back, but I need a way to her heart, I need a way to express myself to her. I need for her to listen. She's a little touchy now, but our relationship is much better than it was. And this is the reason that I'm working with children in child care. Because of what happened in my life with my child. And then by me moving to the city. How it affected me. I said, "Ah, I can help someone else, maybe through a hard time, and I can see things—.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
A major contribution to me, soothing me. I think about when we did move to the city, my sisters and brothers, I was responsible for them because my parents were working so I had to take care of them. And a lot of things we did together. But I had no idea of the impact it would be for a parent not being there totally until this experience happened to me. So now I'm really dedicated to working with children because, well, for one thing, it is because of what I went through with my daughter and because I know that somebody is going to go, or might go through what I went through, but I'm there to tell them what this has done and what it will do, and to help guide them in the right direction. Hopefully, I can do that. This is my prayer. This is why I work with children so intensely. We have a good time together. I love the good time. And now my daughter is working with me so we get a chance to talk, and we go on field trips and things, so our relationship is building more now. Oh, by the grace of God. Our plans—Hopkins Street? Back to Hopkins Street?
JILL HEMMING:
About the church?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
I still go to that church. I'm a member of that church yet. I taught Sunday School there when I was younger. It is a bond there. And I remember my mother used to come home in the evening from work. She would come in and change and sit then. She would play ball. The families would play ball in the street and little games. And everybody would have watermelons and whatever. "I got the watermelon, what do you have?" You know, like on the street and it was great. It was a good atmosphere for growing up. Going to church, when I cam back to North Carolina, I moved back to North Carolina in '80. My father passed in '89, '89, yes. So I moved back then. When I went to Hopkins Street I cried, I totally cried. Because the house that we lived in is boarded up. Houses are boarded up. They have elements out there that, if it was in Durham, or if it was, it was never in the neighborhood so strongly. And such young children out there. A difference needs to be made. Our voice needs to be heard because this is a church here. We can make a difference, and we are going to do that. We are cleaning up the neighborhood. The houses have been cleaned out and we've gone up and cleaned the streets and everything. So what our next plan, the next move is to get donations so we can build a little park across the street. Actually, the children need somewhere that they can go. Someone that is going to help, like say, "Hey, we can do this. A

Page 27
basketball court." Someone to help them read. You can make anything, you turn it into fun. And this will catch a young person's eye. Say, flash cards and little things that you do. It captivates the mind and this is what the young children need. It has to start at home, because I can do it. I do it all day at the day care, but once the child leaves the center it has to be reinforced. We have to become partners, well, like, "I'm doing this. This is what I do." Each week we send little folders or little journals home of what has happened this week, daily. This is what we are working on in the neighborhood, another house. The House of Hope is for women, unwed mothers or women that have been battered with children. So another house is for this purpose. We must reach our children. The parents, a lot of parents have to be educated also, because they don't know. I can attest to that. If you don't know, someone who knows can talk. You should be able to speak. [Aside to child: Malique, get him. Close the door.] Someone has to take the time with the children and the parents. Get some flyers together.
JILL HEMMING:
So you're actually going to try to buy a house? Or you already have a house?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
We have a house on Hopkins Street.
JILL HEMMING:
You can make into kind of a children's center?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Yes.
JILL HEMMING:
Would it be a day care kind of thing? Or would it just be a support kind of center?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
A family support. Younger children, the day care we have them up to five, up to four. Because at five they start kindergarten. After school programs for the children and the parents. Some parents are working. We can take care of the children at the school up until eleven o'clock at night. And parents support. We get the parents to come in and we have meetings with the parents to express what, maybe ask them questions, "What do you think we could do to help Johnny in this area? What do you think we can do to stop so and so on the streets?" Opening questions with the parents and try to get some feedback and then we will know what our next move will be. But this strongly what we are discussing now.
JILL HEMMING:
What is the name of the organization? Is it a community of churches that are coming together for this?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Zion Wall and Gospel Crusade outreach, and Reverend Gilcrest. The church on the corner, the three churches in the area.

Page 28
JILL HEMMING:
What is the church on the corner?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Oh boy. This is awful. What is the name of his church? This is embarrassing. We were just at the church the other night. We had service there.
JILL HEMMING:
Is this idea kind of social activism? Is that a new thing for your church to get involved this way? Is that something you remember in the past, or is this a new thing?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Really, you know what? When we were younger and the church, the minister there, if we didn't see anybody, he would visit. Find out what was going on, if anything was wrong, what could be done. So, actually, it was way back, but it seemed like it was put to bed. [Laughter]
JILL HEMMING:
For too many years.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
For too many years, which is why probably a lot of the elements are there. But we seem to give up on our people too quick. Or the drive wasn't there any more. You need someone with the drive and the initiative to say, well, "I know this can be done. I've seen it done, and I'm a witness that it can be done. So, let's go. Let's do it." A leader.
JILL HEMMING:
Who are the people emerging as leaders? Is it people that you grew up with in the neighborhood, or is it newcomers?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
The people from the neighborhood that grew up there. My sister is pastor of Greater Zion Wall now, so she is coming in on it. My brother is the pastor of Outreach, and Reverend Gilcrest, he has been in the area for years, years. It is the neighborhood. We had—some interest was there from Terry Allebaugh and from, what is that—coalition for housing. They were interested. They came in to help, to get the attention on the area to get it cleaned up. But as far as just getting in and doing something about it, it is the people that grew up there that want to see the change. And not just see it, but willing to do something about it. And this just, I believe it has been on people's minds, but nobody has really decided to do anything about it until we started going to some meetings and looking at it and saying, "Hey, we cannot just sit here in the church and continue to allow the elements to be going on around here." Because when we were younger, when church—everybody respected everybody. But it is no respect. It is no respect for the children. It is no respect for themselves. It is no respect for the elders. All of this is gone. So someone has to do something.

Page 29
JILL HEMMING:
What do you think pushed people over the edge here?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
In which way?
JILL HEMMING:
To take action. What do you think was the final—
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
They were just fed up with it. When I came by, drove up one morning going to church and I saw these little young children out there, I said, "Okay, that's it. That's just too much." We have go to do something. We just can't keep riding by and going in there and singing hallelujah and everything is all right. And it is not all right. Our little children are dying out there on the corner. Our children are lost. So the parents need to be informed and need to know that there is help if they want it for their sins. Shooting was there. People were shot. So this really go them afraid. They were afraid a bullet might come flying through the church or something, and innocent bystanders getting shot. So this is what made people decide, yes, we are going to do something. Yes, we do need to do something. Let's get busy.
JILL HEMMING:
Now tell me about the changes in the neighborhood as a large number of Latinos have moved in.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Oh boy. Oh. Well, it seems that whatever, all the trash. All the anything—they bring in, bring it in. Old wrecked cars. Old trash sitting out in the front of the yard. Broken bottles. I don't care. This is not mine. I'm just here visiting and I don't care what happened. It is really awful. It is really awful. There has to be a limit of how far, how much a neighborhood is supposed to accept, regardless of where. You want to be a good neighbor and love one another, and that's true. But they have to respect the neighborhood. It has to start here. Just because this one throws something on the ground doesn't mean that you have to do it. Say, "Hey, could you pick that up, please? Because we are trying to keep this neighborhood together." You don't have to just trash everything and just throw it and feel that it is all right, it's okay. And that's very unfair to the neighborhood. It's very unfair for them to be able to come and do this and get away with just piling—all of this brings mice, whatever, all kinds of junk. I don't think it is fair to the neighborhood because a lot of the trash that we had to get rid of raking, and bagging up is from there. They should be made to do this themselves. You put it here, you should clean it up.
JILL HEMMING:
Tell me the about the children.

Page 30
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
All the children running up and down the street. It's a tear-jerker. It's really sad because the children are running around with no clothes, no shoes or anything. The church, we have soup kitchen once a week and a clothes drive, a clothes giveaway to try to help some of the parents with the children, to feed. And I'm not sure whether they are going to school, and if they are, how they are looking. It is just too much over there.
JILL HEMMING:
Do you have a fair amount of Latino kids who come over for your clothes drives and soup kitchen?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Oh, yes. Oh, yes. Yes. We don't have any trouble with the food, saving any food, because we let them know and they come and get their food and little bags of clothes. Some of them have gotten boxes of shoes and clothes or bikes or whatever for the children. It's not just limited to the neighborhood, to help every one, but in turn everyone should help us try to keep the neighborhood together also.
JILL HEMMING:
How are interactions between people in the church when the Latinos come in?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Well, actually, people pretty much accept them. Pretty much so. As well as they know how, I guess. I believe they accept them pretty good, some of them. If you weigh it, I really don't know which way the scale would tip. But I believe that's everywhere, because when people are not ready to accept change, they are going to think they way that they want to think or they feel at that time. Even going to church they do have their little ways or thoughts. If they wasn't here I've heard that. But that don't stop, you're supposed to love your sisters and brothers. Like everybody is supposed to love one another. So we have to think about that, especially being part of the church. You just can't say I love mine and not love yours. What is that showing. God is love. He loves everybody.
JILL HEMMING:
Now the neighborhood had declined before they ever moved in?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Yes. Yes.
JILL HEMMING:
They just moved into that was already—
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
—that was already, yes.
JILL HEMMING:
Everybody has got to, if it's going to work out, everybody still has got to live there together. How do you think things can improve, or what do you think needs to happen?

Page 31
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
You know what, actually I believe, and I will stand on this, if they see people doing things to bring the neighborhood up, I actually believe that they will contribute also. It is just not, like I'm just doing this. Yes, I believe that everybody would come together. It would be a unity there. Because they see. Well, I'll help. Yes. I believe once we get started, full blast. Yes, there would be unity. And who knows, they'll probably go to one of the churches.
JILL HEMMING:
Do you think that, really, that they are such newcomers, many of them have even had the opportunity to be part of the neighborhood association, or be part of a congregation that is working to clean things up? None of them have really—
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
No, no. The only time really, when we had that march in September. They came down and we had an interpreter. They were there. So, yes. You're right, bringing that in front. Because no one has really tried to relate. So they are just going with the flow of what is happening on Hopkins Street, really, at this time. This would be the first time except last fall. And it was a tremendous turnout, not just from Hopkins Street, but a tremendous turnout of different cultures.
JILL HEMMING:
How do you think that happened? How did that come to be there was such good involvement?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Well, good organization.
JILL HEMMING:
Who were the other folks involved to bring people out?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
We had Larissa Sibel, Terry Allebaugh. Larissa got some flyers. And we distributed flyers concerning it. And we she had an interpreter, someone who made sure that it was known that someone would be there to interpret. This is why the turnout, because it was advertised. And, of course, Barbara was going up and down the street to let them know, come to our march. Good organization.
JILL HEMMING:
Let's keep talking about the adult leaders that you remember in your neighborhood growing up. How can the neighborhood run well? Do you think your church could be a part of the process of educating the Latino newcomers on how to be part of the civic pride and community?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
You know what, really, yes. I'm not sure everyone. We had two members that spoke Spanish. The only thing we would need someone to interpret. I'm sure one went out. Well, they have their own ministry now. But I'm sure, if we get the right resources and show ourselves friendly, that a

Page 32
great response will. Because, one day, let me tell you something that happened. I had car trouble, and people were passing by, and it was, they didn't hardly speak English, but they knew that I was in distress and stopped and helped. And I tried to pay, and they said no. So, if you show yourself friendly, you'll get a friend. But if you show yourself otherwise—so yes, the church, that's the responsibility of the church, I feel, is to reach out to all people.
SMALL CHILD:
When are we going to go?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
[Aside to child: go back, I'll let you know. Go back and close the door.]
SMALL CHILD:
I want something to eat.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Go back and close the door.
SMALL CHILD:
I want something to eat.
JILL HEMMING:
We're almost done, sweetie. We'll finish up here pretty quick.
SMALL CHILD:
[Crying.]
JILL HEMMING:
I'm amazed we haven't heard [unclear] screaming.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
So, yes.
JILL HEMMING:
So with your involvement in the community, what do you feel best about? What do you feel most proud of in the things you have contributed since you've come home?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Being a part of the prison ministry is good. And being back in church. I go to the prison. I have two places. Cornell is my baby and Guess Road. I go—
SMALL CHILD:
[Crying.] When can I come out. [Recorder is turned off and then back on.]
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
What were talking about?
JILL HEMMING:
You were talking about the prison ministry.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Oh, yes. Speaking to the inmates. And I also, I speak to the young people. I talk to them concerning drugs and everything. And how do they feel about drugs, and what do they think that drugs are doing to their bodies? So I counsel the young. But my baby is going to the prison camps. But what is going to be even better is the neighborhood coming together. This project that we are working on now for

Page 33
the parents, educating the parents. We have to educate our parents to our children. Because a lot of things, we just take it for granted, and we are allowing our children, we're giving them too much room, too much space without us, without our involvement. This causes a lot of children to go other places when they don't get the proper nurturing from home so they seek other places, other ways of getting this nurturing. Being educated, educating the parents to work with our children.
JILL HEMMING:
Do you think you would seek out a bilingual program when you serve the Latinos?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Yes, bilingual. Because this is what I have at the Center. One of the teachers at Burton has, she is very interested, and she said she speaks Spanish. She said anything she can do to contribute, she said call me. I'll speak. So we have volunteers. It's just getting our house together now.
JILL HEMMING:
What about those kids? They can't go home to grandma's in the summer. They are so far away. So far from all they've known.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Yes. And to place that right there, that has to be appreciated. I'm sure it will be appreciated. We just need to get the funds together and get this house opened. I was thinking about the rent parties we used to have. Now we can have little sellings. Our children are very creative. Let them do some things. We can raise funds that way to help. And that will be great for the children to know that they are being a part of it. I've noticed how children, they're more resourceful that a lot of adults. They like to give. Once you say, "Okay, we're going to do this, we're going to help. Make something pretty for us." They really get excited.
JILL HEMMING:
Do you like to be a part of that?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Yes, yes.
JILL HEMMING:
Thanks, Julia. Any last things you want to throw in here?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
No. I'm really glad that you took the time and waited for this, because it felt good going back over, speaking of our neighborhood. And, as I was talking, fresh ideas came to mind of things that I could do. I thought about some of the things that were done years ago that were put to bed too soon—need to pull the cover off and get busy, because we can do it. We can do it. I know that we can. And the suggestions that you made about the, if we would initiate friendliness and be a part. Say, "Hey, we're doing this. Would you like to join us?" That's great. That's even more enlightening. So, that's about it.

Page 34
I'm just looking forward to getting busy, doing my share. Because this is going to be fun. All the people involved. It's going to make what I'm doing now seem like nothing. Because this is the big picture. Like everybody is involved. I'm just the one going to the prison camps now. I'm just doing this counseling youths, which I will continue to do, but everybody, that's when it's fun. When you get everyone involved. The children and everyone. We can work on the cultures and diversity.
JILL HEMMING:
Maybe all of your experiences have led to this point. Now you can come back to the neighborhood that nurtured you, that helped you to find a place, that helped you to grow up. Now you're coming back with your education and your knowledge from your life experiences and from school, and you can take all of that. Now you've get to give back.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Yes. That's the fun part. Yes. Hallelujah!
END OF INTERVIEW